AudienceView, in our words

AudienceView is a partner of The Ticketing Institute and matches their system capabilities against the Functionality Builder to achieve a high score.

AudienceView is the product of the Canadian software corporation of the same name, founded by Kevin Kimsa and colleagues.  Mirvish Productions (Who once ran the Old Vic in London and is Canada’s largest theatrical producer with over 2.5 million customers) uses AudienceView, along with a long list of North American arts and sports organisations.  In the UK, major theatre chains Ambassadors Theatre Group and HQ Theatres have signed up (live in 2012) for AudienceView.

The AudienceView sales pitch is ‘Think outside the Box Office’.  And in a sense their approach is fundamentally different from what has gone before.  Their’s was the first system released in the UK with fully web-based architecture, providing a venue with an integrated customer relationship, ticketing and marketing system which can sell through all channels.   Terminals simply run in a browser window.  The system has led the way with tools for social media integration and new opportunities for selling tickets directly.

Developed in Toronto, AudienceView had been a ‘Best Buy’ system in my view for some years.  In 2007 it looked that they were changing their strategy and wanted to be a Ticketmaster-type service provider.  Fortunately, the company quickly returned to its core values, though it has had mixed feedback from users in recent years.  Mark Fowlie now leads the company, and in September 2014, it appointed David McClellan (ex and TicketHour) as its MD for operations outside North America, fronting its London office.

The system comes with a built-in CMS (Content Management System) as part of the core code so it can drive websites straight from the system with an extensive tool-kit for optimising web sales.   With a clearly described Road Map for development, shared with users, latest versions delivered in 2014 have hugely expanded functionality even further, heading for Version 6.8.  The system now offers sophisticated solutions for Facebook integration and mobile-optimised sales, including Apps and their “Tiki” solution.

As well as HQ Theatres and ATG, users include the Theatre Royal in Norwich, Dublin Theatre Festival and the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Stratford Circus, the whole NEC Group in the Midlands with their Ticket Factory, the National Theatre of Sweden in Stockholm, the Brighton Dome and Festival, and the Edinburgh International Festival.  Already translated into Spanish, with major users in Latin America, the system can operate in multiple languages and handle different countries’ localisations.

Browser-based, this is the system which leads Box Office Managers to joke they need not come into work any more, since they could log-in from home and run the system from there.  Their ambition is to offer the comprehensive ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to handle everything around the customer, from fund-raising to ticketing.  They already offer some great tools for sales promotions and offers, including on-line reservations (unpaid), which has some advantages for social media network marketing.

It can be an in-house system or externally hosted, and they also offer a service for developing the complete website solution if an organisation wishes – the Victoria Palace in London did this.  Their implementation process is especially and appropriately rigorous, and a significant part of the costs can come from the ‘Statement of Work’ if lots of localisation and customisation is needed by a venues (and customisations may not survive upgrades to new versions).  The key to successfully working with them is to be absolutely precise about your needs and to ensure the staff are fully trained to get the most out of it.  Some say this is a relatively expensive solution, with significant costs for professional services around upgrades, and their hosting charges are higher than from other suppliers, but it is competitive at the top end of the system market.

Peter I’anson, Business Development Director EMEA : Peter.I’

David McClellan: